Trump imposes new tariffs on China
The trade war with China is back on — not that it was ever really off.
President Trump said he would impose a 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1, after a meeting of U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators in Shanghai failed.
Mr. Trump said China had failed to follow through on promises to buy more American agricultural products and to stop the export of the powerful opiate fentanyl into the U.S. The escalation of the long-running trade dispute triggered a sharp sell-off in American stocks.
In other economic news: The Bank of England said economic growth had probably flattened, weighed down by global concerns and uncertainty over the coming departure from the European Union. Still, the bank decided to keep its benchmark interest rate at 0.75 percent.
Europeans decline to join escorts in gulf
With tensions with Iran rising, the U.S. and Britain have been shopping for European supports to bolster patrols in the Persian Gulf around the Strait of Hormuz.
But so far the American requests for help to escort shipping in the gulf have been met with silence or rejection, including a blunt “no” on Wednesday from Germany.
Many nations including France, Germany, Italy and Sweden have yet to respond favorably to Britain’s suggestion of a European escort force, even after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the gulf.
Distrust on both sides: Washington accuses its European allies of free-riding on its efforts to secure the Persian Gulf, while the Europeans argue that Washington created the problem in the first place by backing out of an agreement meant to curb Iran’s production of nuclear weapons.
A blow to Boris Johnson in Wales
In the first electoral test for Britain’s new prime minister, the Conservatives lost a special election in the Brecon and Radnorshire region of Wales on Thursday, cutting Boris Johnson’s already slim majority in Parliament to just one seat.
Though Mr. Johnson has remained steadfast in his commitment to a Brexit by Oct. 31, with or without a deal, the loss is a reminder of the fragility of his position in Parliament.
Context: The Conservatives ran Chris Davies, who was previously unseated by a petition of local voters after he was convicted of making a false expenses claim. Voters elected a candidate from the Liberal Democrats, who formed an anti-Brexit alliance among like-minded parties.
Big picture: Brecon and Radnorshire was something of a test case for future cooperation among opponents of Brexit. The defeat likely raises the prospect that Mr. Johnson will seek a bigger majority in a general election in the fall.
Markets: The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has put pressure on the pound. On Thursday, the currency fell below $1.21, a level not seen in two and a half years.
A tipping point for impeachment?
The trickle of Democrats in favor of opening a full impeachment inquiry into President Trump is threatening to turn into a flood.
The House’s summer break was expected to lower the temperature around impeachment. Instead, the pressure is rising on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take the full House vote she has tried to avoid all year.
The numbers: The backers of an impeachment investigation now number 117 — more than halfway to the 218 votes they would need. This week alone, a dozen Democrats have announced their support for the measure.
If you have 12 minutes, this is worth it
Germany trained refugees, and then deported them
About a third of all migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015 are now fully integrated into the work force and contributing to the economy.
But many companies that heeded Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call to integrate refugees are angry that their efforts are being undermined by deportations. More than 26,100 foreigners were deported from Germany last year, up from 25,670 in 2017.
Here’s what else is happening
North Korea: The country launched its third missile test in just over a week. U.S. officials said it appeared that two projectiles were launched, although it was unclear from where, or what type of missiles were fired.
Trump Organization subpoenas: New York State prosecutors subpoenaed President Trump’s family business, reviving an investigation into the company’s role in hush-money payments to two women made during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people briefed on the matter.
Japan: The country imposed broad new trade restrictions on South Korea, intensifying a political standoff that has plunged relations between the countries to their lowest point in decades. The dispute has spooked global markets.
Saudi Arabia: Adult Saudi women will be allowed to obtain passports, travel and work without securing the permission of a male relative. The new regulations are a blow to the kingdom’s so-called “guardianship” system.
The Netherlands: A new law banning burqas, niqabs and other face coverings in some public spaces that has been criticized as Islamophobic went into effect, though prominent officials said they wouldn’t enforce it.
EBay: The company is accusing three Amazon managers of conspiring to poach its sellers, an allegation that may get extra attention as regulators in Washington scrutinize anticompetitive behavior.
Snapshot: Above, smoke from wildfires rising above the Verkhoyansky district in Yakutia, Russia. The government sent military planes and helicopters to help put out the flames that have engulfed large swaths of Siberia and beyond.
Which candidate would you swipe right on?: The Times created a Tinder-like game featuring the Democratic 2020 candidates. Find out who’s your type.
Times Insider: Our war correspondent Hwaida Saad revisited the Liwan Hotel in the southern Turkish town of Antakya, which served as a hub for journalists and Syrians who fled the war across the border. Now “it is a hotel of ghosts,” she writes.
What we’re reading: This gripping story from The Atlantic about a scientist who happened upon poachers attacking chimpanzees in Uganda, which our newsletter director Adam Pasick says reads like a Hollywood screenplay: “Langergraber ran up and started kicking the dogs, to no avail. Then he realized that there was a spear sticking out of Kidman’s back.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: End the week with quick-seared short ribs with charred scallion salsa from Alison Roman.
Go: Jennifer Kent follows “The Babadook” with the “The Nightingale,” a politically charged thriller set in 19th-century Tasmania. It comes to theaters today and is a critic’s pick.
Smarter Living: Does your partner snore? Studies have shown that nocturnal disturbances can lead to health problems and marital spats — maybe it’s time to consider a sleep divorce.
We also have a guide on how to jump-start a new running habit.
And now for the Back Story on …
As Hong Kong has been convulsed with protests, a cryptic exhortation is omnipresent: “Add oil!”
The phrase 加油 (ga yao) literally means adding fuel to a tank, but is used as a motivational cheer to push through, go faster, stay strong. It’s a fist-pumping, foot-stomping multipurpose chant that can be used in almost any situation. It’s the verbal equivalent of the muscular arm emoji.
“It’s also a way to encourage people to persevere through other sorts of difficulty,” Jennifer 8. Lee wrote for The Times during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. “It’s a way of expressing sympathy, support and solidarity that ‘Let’s go’ doesn’t quite capture.”
The historical record is spotty, but “add oil” is believed to have first been used at the Macau Grand Prix in the 1960s before seeping into Hong Kong slang. It was also widely used during the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in 2014, and in 2018 “add oil” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Remy Tumin helped compile this briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford wrote the break from the news. Alisha wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].
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